OK. More progress planning my trip to Yorkshire this summer. I have identified some Youth Hostels en route, or just off the route in some cases, that I could use. Although they are by no means equidistant from each other, they do split the journey into a 6-day jaunt. The first 3 days would be the toughest: Reading to Oxford is a route I have done a couple of times before and that is certainly no problem whatsoever – approximately 30 miles. The next two days would get a bit longer each day. Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon – approx 50 miles and then Stratford to the “National Forest” YHA which is just outside Ashby-de-la-Zouch (wonderful name!) – approx 50 miles again (although it does look a bit longer on my map – perhaps it’s the kink in the Oxford – Stratford route!). The next day would take me to the foothills (that word is a bit too grand for English “mountain” ranges) of The Peak District and if I went as far as the furthest hostel I have mentioned, Hartington, the journey would be approx 40 miles. The distance between Ilam (the southern most hostel of that little threesome) and Hartington is 12 miles so that day could be significantly shorter. Let’s then assume that I use the middle one, Alstonefield and a journey from there to Crowden is approx 40 miles again albeit a probably much hillier 40 miles than any of the previous ones. The final stretch from Crowden to Elland, my destination in Yorkshire is a positively easy 20 miles! Now if you add all that up it comes to around 230 miles which is interesting as I remember than from my door in Reading to my destination in Elland, by car, the journey is 233 miles exactly!
One thing that has come to mind in researching the above information is why don’t I spend a couple of days in The Peak District rather than speeding through in, well, one day. There are plenty of YHA places to stay in the area and with a little bit of planning, even a walk to break the journey might be in order (if I still can walk by that stage). I wonder if Paul or James would be up for that? Or my relatives in either Elland or Nottingham? It would of course ruin the surprise of turning up on their doorstep having just cycled from Reading but hey, that’s a small ephemeral price to pay.
Apparently you get a £3 discount if you are a member of the YHA when staying at their hostels. 5/6 nights in their accommodation probably makes it worthwhile joining. More research needed.